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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Sports

Cougars outpace Team USA, claim fastest relay time in the world


Cameron Burrell again anchored the 4x100m relay team to one of the top times in the world, but this time it was against Team USA. | Courtesy of UH Athletics

This weekend, the track & field team was split between the Victor Lopez Classic and the Prairie View A&M Relays. Regardless, records were again broken and top times/marks were set nationally.

The biggest story of the weekend came from Prairie View where the Cougars participated in a special showcase: UH vs Team USA. In both the men’s 4x100m and 4x200m relay teams, the Cougars, along with Texas Southern and the Shreveport Speed Track Club, were pitted against three separate USA relay teams.

This was a test between the defending relay national champions and the best USA Track & Field has to offer.

The Cougars sent a 4x100m squad near identical to that which won the NCAA Outdoor Championship in June. Juniors Mario Burke and John Lewis III partnered with seniors Elijah Hall and Cameron Burrell, Hall being the only change from the national championship team.

Among those they ran against from Team USA were World silver medalists Mike Rodgers and Wallace Spearmon and class of 2016 Cougar LeShon Collins.

Regardless of who they were facing, the Cougars rose to the challenge and outran their competitors with a time of 38.95s. At the time it was the No. 1 time in the world but has since been surpassed, though it is still good for No. 3 in the NCAA.

The 4x200m relay was no different from the first. Junior sprinter Kahmari Montgomery joined Burke, Hall and Burrell as the lone collegiate team against Team USA Red and Team USA Blue. The 4x200m is seldom ran, as it is not an event at the NCAA Championships.

The Cougars outran Team USA Red with a time of one minute, 21.19s. Their time is currently the fastest in the world at any level.

The other top story from Prairie View came from John Lewis III. Lewis was the only other Cougar to run in the individual events. He ended up running 10.13s in the men’s 100m, currently the No. 2 time in the NCAA.

At the Victor Lopez Classic the Cougars also had a strong showing. For the women, sophomore Samiyah Samuels had a personal best mark of 6.29m in the long jump. Her mark was good enough to win the event and shoot her up to No. 5 in the country.

Freshman Quivell Jordan won the men’s 400m hurdles race with a time of 51.11s, No. 4 in the NCAA.

However, the top individual performance of the whole weekend belonged to senior distance runner Brian Barraza. Barraza broke the fifth school record of his career, this time in the 3000m steeplechase. Barraza set the fastest time in the country by finishing the race in eight minutes, 41.58s, nearly five seconds better than the previous best time.

The team is back in action this Wednesday as they travel to Austin for the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays.

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